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THE WORLD'S RELIGIOUS PARLIAMENT

EXTENSION.

MERSON, our great poet-philosopher, has said: “America,

EMERS

thy name is opportunity!" And, indeed, here is the place to realise ideals which appear to be impracticable in Europe.

The

New World is like a new dispensation with new possibilities for a higher, nobler, and grander covenant. What was left undone in Benares, the centre of an old civilisation, in Jerusalem, a city sacred to three great religions, in Rome the venerable see of the Popes, and in London the home of modern science and industry, has been accomplished by the bold spirit of Chicago enterprise. A parliament of all the religions of the world, always regarded as a vague dream, has become an actual fact of history, the importance of which can hardly be overrated, for it will more and more be recognised as a landmark in the evolution of religion. But the duty devolves on us to utilise its blessing, to extend it to the whole world, and to make it a permanent factor for good in the future development of mankind. For this purpose the World's Religious Parliament Extension has been founded, in which it is proposed to establish friendly relations among all religions for a better mutual understanding, to awaken all over the world a lively interest in religious. problems, and above all to facilitate the final and universal attainment of religious truth.

The significance of the World's Religious Parliament Extension is not merely local. All over the world, there are men who are serious in their religious convictions, who not only want the truth as they see it recognised by their brethren, but also desire to under

stand the meaning of others with whom they disagree and are anxious to grow in both their comprehension of the truth and their sympathy for all honest inquirers. At the New Year's reunion, when, on the occasion of a celebration of the world's congresses, the World's Religious Parliament Extension was inaugurated, we witnessed at the Auditorium, the largest theatre of Chicago, a stately gathering of thousands of eager people who had come to listen to the speeches of the best known ministers of the city and its vicinity; and greetings were read from prominent religious leaders representing the greatest denominations and most important religious aspirations of mankind.

We here present some of the messages received, and let them speak for themselves.

GREETINGS FROM ROMAN CATHOLIC PRELATES.

Cardinal Gibbons writes to the Hon. C. C. Bonney:

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"I regret very much that I must deny myself the pleasure of "participating in the meeting to commemorate the World's First "Parliament of Religions.'

"My official duties render it impossible for me to leave home "at this time.

"I take this occasion to tender you my sincere and cordial con"gratulations on the success of the World's Fair Auxiliary,' and "I have reason to hope that the results of this Congress, in which "you took so prominent a part, will be long-enduring and far"reaching."

A telegram from Archbishop Ireland:

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Happy New Year to my friends of the World's Congress Aux"iliary. You do well to perpetuate the memory and extend the in"fluence of the great work of 1893. It was a marvellous work, "leaving its deep ineffaceable mark in the world of thought and pro"gress."

LETTERS OF SYMPATHY FROM BUDDHISTS.

H. Dharmapála, editor of the Maha-bodhi Journal, Calcutta, India, a representative of Ceylonese Buddhism, writes:

"The scene of last summer often comes into vividness, and

"then I see the panoramic picture of the brilliant gathering, the "joyful faces, the cordial shaking of hands, the meeting-hall, and "the welcoming of delegates. The spirit that animated me to take "part in the deliberations of the Parliament of Religions still urges "me on, and I know that if you will persevere in building up the "superstructure on the bases of love and compassion laid by the "late Parliament, you will succeed. The world needed a friendly "assemblage and the Parliament was the result. The great evils "that afflict mankind have to be combated, and who will do this "but the free and democratic people of America?

"If your Government would take action upon your suggestion "to print the proceedings of the several Congresses, it would be "splendid, indeed. Such a mass of knowledge could never again "be collected. I hope your suggestion will be carried out by the "American Government. The sympathy of millions of people is "with you, and that is enough to keep you safe and strong."

Shaku Soyen, a Buddhist High Priest of the Zen Sect, Kamakura, Japan, writes:

"I deeply sympathise with the plan of continuing the work of "the Parliament of Religions. It appears to me that the present "age is a period in which a religious reform is preparing itself all "over the world, and it is our duty to investigate the truth with "impartiality, so that its light may shine brighter than before. "Some narrow-minded persons imagine that they can suppress "the universal aspiration that called the late World's Religious "Parliament into existence, which is the greatest spiritual event of "our age. But they will not succeed, and I hail the movement of "the Religious Parliament Extension which you have started. It "is a new proof that progress cannot be checked. We have to fight "a religious battle against superstitions and narrowness by taking "the spirit of science and philosophy as shield, and the principle of "universal brotherhood as sword. The distinction between Chris"tianity, Mohammedanism, and Buddhism should not be made be"fore the altar of truth, and we should be open-minded enough not "to exaggerate the importance of the differences which exist be"tween races, rituals, and languages. I sincerely hope that your

"movement will be successful so as to unite the religions of the "world and lead them to the recognition of the truth."

Zitsuzen Ashitsu, of Hieisan, Omi, Japan, a Buddhist priest representing the Tendai Sect, writes:

"That the Parliament of Religions as undertaken by Western "energy and religiosity has proved a great success and produced "good results by dispersing the prejudices of narrow-minded people "both in the East and in the West, by revealing the fundamental "truths which are common to every religion, by explaining the "foundation upon which alone man can find peace of soul and enter "eventually into the life eternal of bliss, and by setting forth the "ultimate ground of the religious unity of the world, is now fully "established, not only in the opinion of the people at large, but "also, and especially, by all scholars of prominence. These are "important facts which we should always bear in mind.

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"I am very glad to learn that you have founded an organisation "under the name of Religious Parliament Extension,' which will "pursue the noble and good principles of the Parliament of Reli"gions. It is a Buddhistic idea that 'truth is but one, while its "dress may be different,' and, so far as I can, I heartily wish to co"operate with you."

MESSAGES FROM ORTHODOX PROTESTANTS.

Bishop Benjamin W. Arnett of the African Methodist Episcopal Church writes:

"I am with you and the Committee heart and soul, and I hope "that there will be a Parliament of Religions in every land, so that "mankind may feel as we felt, and see as we saw at Chicago."

The Rev. Joseph Cook writes:

"My watchword for the World's Congress Reunion Extension "and Celebration at the Auditorium, January 1, is:

"Via Lucis, Via Crucis, the way of light is the way of the "Cross. Upward, Onward, Heavenward!

"The echoes of the Parliament of Religions of 1893 have been "world-wide, and will endure for generations.

"These responses already prove that vital and enlightened or

"thodoxy ought to rejoice in the general result of a wholly unprece"dented assembly, which represented the religions of more than "half of the human race, and opened all of its sessions with the "Lord's Prayer.

"The Parliament must be judged by its official record, edited "by its Chairman, the Rev. Dr. John Henry Barrows, and not by any "or all of the very numerous fragmentary and distorted reports of "it, which have misled portions of the public, at home and abroad.

"It was officially stated in the Parliament, at the outset, by "both President Bonney and Dr. Barrows, that the equality among "religions guaranteed in the meetings was parliamentary and not "doctrinal. No speaker understood himself to be making doctrinal "concessions of any kind. Every historic form of religious faith "was guaranteed a fair hearing. All non-Christian faiths now stand "face to face with Christianity, and are, many of them, being pro"foundly modified by this contact. The pretences of several alien. "faiths are a part of their defences. It is important that the former

"should be understood, if the latter are to be overthrown.

"Many distinguished Christian missionaries not only took part "in the Parliament, but, after a year's study of its results, have "recognised the immense value of its proceedings and official litera"ture, in exhibiting to non-Christian nations the difference between "real and nominal Christianity, and the substantial unity of evan"gelical Christendom in the essentials of religious doctrine and life, "in spite of diversities in denominations and polity.

"Christianity of the scholarly, Biblical, and aggressive type "stood forth in the World's Parliament of Religions among non"Christian faiths and philosophies as the sun among candles. And "this incomparable pre-eminence it can never henceforth fail to "have among all intelligent, devout, and conscientious students of "the self-revelations of God in human nature and history."

PROPOSITIONS OF A CHRISTIAN MISSIONARY.

The Rev. George T. Candlin of Tientsin, China, writes: "Since my visit to Chicago I have thought much on the old "subject, religious union, how it can be promoted, and how the

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